Seattle ranks dead last among AL teams with a .607 OPS from the catcher position and the Mariners will try to fix that glaring weakness by calling up last year’s No. 3 overall pick, Mike Zunino.
As a college star Zunino was always expected to move quickly through the minors and indeed he’s the first position player from the 2012 draft class to reach the majors, but his performance has hardly screamed out for the promotion. He’s shown excellent power with 11 homers and 12 doubles in 47 games at Triple-A, but Zunino hit just .238 with an ugly 59/14 K/BB ratio and .303 on-base percentage in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
He’ll probably be an improvement over what little the Mariners have gotten from their catchers so far, but that isn’t saying much and improving a 28-37 team seemingly shouldn’t take precedence over a 22-year-old top prospect clearly needing to hone some pretty crucial skills. Whatever the case, Zunino is arriving in the majors after just 91 games in the minors and almost exactly one year after being drafted.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.
Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.
Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.